Dog News: Depression ticking time bomb as study identifies major Covid problem – new advice for pets | World | News
New research from 4lite reveals that over 80% of owners are now concerned and worried about leaving their dog home alone. It comes as new data shows more dogs have started exhibiting concerning behaviors accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many dogs are struggling to adjust to life now that restrictions have eased and their owners aren’t always around, says dog behavior expert Denise Nuttall.
The easing of Covid restrictions has led to changes in our daily routines leading to more dogs developing behavioral issues and separation anxiety.
According to 4lite, 75% of owners said their dogs started exhibiting negative behaviors when they were home alone. It’s even higher among new owners at 91%.
Whining, barking, pacing, and looking sad or discouraged are all common behaviors reported.
More extreme actions include destroying objects in the house, urinating indoors, excessive production of saliva and vomiting.
Even more worryingly, one in 30 first-time owners report their dog self-harming, according to research from 4lite.
Dog behavior expert Denise Nuttall told Express.co.uk there has been “a massive and unprecedented increase in territorial aggression because dogs are not used to people coming into their homes “.
Ms Nuttall added: ‘Suddenly strangers are coming into their territory which is upsetting and frightening for them.
That’s why, she says, they use aggression to try to drive people away.
According to the canine expert, the reason most dogs didn’t exhibit these behaviors before Covid is because they were socialized as puppies.
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Regularly moving the trigger objects will help break the association between their anxiety and your leaving.
She also advised owners to build up their dog’s tolerance of being alone by leaving him for short periods and filming him to check he has settled down.
However, it can take months for the puppies to adjust, but don’t rush it as this could cause more anxiety and setbacks.
If owners can arrange for a friend or family member to visit while they are away, it will help break up the time the dog is left alone and ease their anxiety.
For owners who have no choice but to leave their dog for long periods of time, Ms Nuttall suggested going to a veterinarian who could prescribe antidepressants or sedatives for animals showing particularly extreme behaviors.